Joshua Busby's Moral Movements and Foreign Policy analyzes how factors converge to create successful (or unsuccessful) advocacy campaigns and whether governments are ready to support transnational moral causes.
In his recently published book, Busby examines key principled advocacy movements, so-named because the advocates were motivated by concepts of right and wrong rather than material self-interest. He focuses on four recent advocacy case studies for his analysis: developing-country debt relief, climate change, AIDS and the International Criminal Court. He chose these particular cases in order to cover diverse issue areas as well as varied country cases and examples of successful and failed advocacy.
"Governments may embrace causes championed by advocacy movements despite not because of what campaigners do. Some governments may never change no matter how strong a movement is," Busby noted when asked about his most significant finding.
He posits that the acceptance of principled advocacy movements by states depends primarily on the interplay of three factors:
Costs: The balance of material incentives facing states.
Values: The cultural resonance of the message.
Gatekeepers: The number and preferences of policy gatekeepers.
"The actions of advocacy movements may be important, but some problems are harder to solve than others and some targets of advocacy may be more open to change than others," says Busby.
This book is the result of rigorous research and several hundred interviews conducted over eight years with individuals from academia, advocacy, government and other sectors. In it, Busby pulls together these myriad perspectives into a comprehensive examination of the facilitating circumstances for successful moral movements.
Looking ahead, Busby remains interested in advocacy movements. His next book with Ethan Kapstein, a Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and a Tom Slick Professor in International Affairs, will focus on the movement for HIV/AIDS treatment in the developing world and its policy implications for addressing the AIDS crisis.
Joshua Busby is an Assistant Professor of Public Affairs at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, a Crook Distinguished Scholar at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law and a fellow at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service.